Archive for the 'General' Category

Out of Service

 

Thanks for visiting my blog. I have bad news and good news:

  • Bad News: I’m no longer updating this blog, so it’s temporarily out-of-service. To be honest,  I’m currently too busy to write entries worth-reading.
  • Good News: I still feel the necessity of posting my likes and thoughts, and I’m actively updating my Google+ and Linkedin profiles. So If you want to know more about me, please find me there:

 

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Dordogne and Cádiz

Holidays finished :-(. This year we’ve been travelling by car around the beautiful region of Dordogne (France). In our road-trip we met great friends and visited many small charming villages like Sarlat, Brantome, Perigueux… Take a look at the following Picasa gallery to check it out. You’ll want to go!

 

Previously (early September), we were visiting the South of Spain (this time we chose Cádiz region). Thanks to the good weather, we could confirm that the sunlight makes Cádiz different from anywhere else we’ve ever been. And we also realized that Almadraba tuna is one of the most delicious fish you can taste.

 

Now it’s time to back to work. Memories remain… 😉

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Duke Nukem Forever: When Enough Is Not Enough

Duke Nukem Forever has been one of the most expected games ever. As every geek knows, it’s been by far the most infamous case of Vaporware as well. Many lessons can be taken from the story of the project and how the 3D Realms people managed it. In fact, I sincerely believe this story must be taught in every single Software Engineering Course as an example of unbounded ambition and perfectionism.

Even though 3D Realms was a highly talented and groundbreaking developer company, when it comes to the Duke Nukem Forever, they totally failed. Actually, they coined the dreadful sentence: “It’ll be done when it’s done” which represents the principle that drove this neverending project. It worths reading the whole story that has been told in a splendid article published by Wired Magazine:

Learn To Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem

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¿Por qué las cebras no tienen úlcera?

¿Por qué las cebras no tienen úlcera?

De Robert M. Sapolsky

Tengo por costumbre de leer de cuando en cuando algún libro científico que no tiene nada que ver con aquello que me da de comer. Creo que es bueno saber bastante de una materia (básicamente para poder comer de ella) pero también hay que conocer un poco de todo lo demás. En este caso me ha parecido que no era mala idea saber algo del Estrés que todos mejor o peor sobrellevamos. Aunque parece haber miles de libros sobre el asunto en cuestión, fue fácil encontrar el libro adecuado porque no me interesaba un manual de autoayuda sino algo que explicase el porqué desde el punto de vista físico… y de estos últimos hay pocos.

Principalmente este libro se divide en dos partes: por un lado se explican las causas y consecuencias fisiológicas del estrés en lo relativo a las diferentes funciones del cuerpo (circulación, digestión, sexo, memoria, sueño, etc) para finalmente tratar los factores psicológicos y socioeconómicos.  Este último muy interesante explicando la relación entre estrés y desigualdades económicas, exponiendo  que no sólo ser pobre es un factor estresante (quizás el mayor de todos) sino también sentirse como tal. El libro se remata con un capítulo dedicado a las estrategias de control y mitigación del estrés…sin recetas mágicas pero científicamente demostradas.

Uno de los aspectos más memorables es el estilo divulgativo e informal del Robert Sapolsky. Se menciona una gran cantidad de estudios citados (y explicados con sorprendente sencillez) que avalan cada una de las afirmaciones, lo cual es más o menos normal en cualquier ensayo científico…pero lo novedoso es que cuando las cosas no están claras, también se explica por qué no están claras. Para alguien no-científico como yo, hay que decir que las 500 págs. se hacen duras por momentos (debido a toda la terminología científica: hormonas, neurotransmisores, receptores, etc) pero sólo por momentos porque es casi siempre interesante y está aderezado con partes hilarantes (por ejemplo las dedicadas a los babuinos).

Tras su lectura, realmente uno llega a entender la razón de que alguna decisión importante te altere el sueño o el apetito, mientras que irte a correr media hora por el parque o una cerveza con los amigos te haga olvidarte por completo de un estresante día de trabajo.

Robert Sapolsky fue entrevistado por Eduardo Punset para el programa Redes, este es el vídeo emitido:

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Do Not Cross The DeadLine

Some time ago while I was reading The Pragmatic Programmer I found a reference to the original meaning of the word DeadLine.

A boundary line in a prison that prisoners can cross only at the risk of being shot.

Do Not Cross

According to Answers.com, this term was coined in 1864 during the Civil War:

It began as a real line, drawn in the dirt or marked by a fence or rail, restricting prisoners in Civil War camps. They were warned, “If you cross this line, you’re dead.” To make dead sure this important boundary was not overlooked, guards and prisoners soon were calling it by its own bluntly descriptive name, the dead line. An 1864 congressional report explains the usage in one camp: “A railing around the inside of the stockade, and about twenty feet from it, constitutes the ‘dead line,’ beyond which the prisoners are not allowed to pass.” […] But it was the newspaper business that made deadline more than just a historical curiosity. To have the latest news and still get a newspaper printed and distributed on time requires strict time limits for those who write it. Yet many are the excuses for writers to go beyond their allotted time: writers’ block, writers’ perfectionism, or just plain procrastination. […] Seeking the strongest possible language to counter these temptations, editors set deadlines, with the implication that “Your story is dead–You are dead–if you go beyond this time to finish it.

Fortunately, in the IT Industry, programmers who don’t meet a deadline are not shot … yet.

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Back to Blog

As you could notice I’ve been away for a while (a couple of months or so;). In short, I’ve been quite busy finishing a Microsoft .NET course off, travelling round Turkey and handling stuff that couldn’t be put off anymore.

But finally, I’m on again. 🙂

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Go Turkey

Turkey seemed to me quite different from all those countries I had previously been to. It’s hard to say; perhaps it was due to the wide range of landscapes, the Muslim mosques everywhere or simply Turkish people’s hospitality. Who knows!

After going for a stroll around Istanbul, flying Kapadokya on a ballon, navigating the Bosphorus, walking over a huge salt lake, haggling in the Great Bazaar and so on…all that remains is the promise of going back soon.

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